Braves News: MLB makes extra innings rule permanent, places restrictions on position players pitching

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

With pitchers and catchers reporting to Atlanta Braves spring training as we speak, we got a bit of news about a pair of new rules that just got put in place by MLB's Joint Competition Committee. Not only will we see the previously known rules changes that we talked about yesterday, but two new changes were also announced.

For those that are not a fan of the zombie runner on second base in extra innings, you got some bad news today as the competition committee voted to make that change permanent. This has certainly led to some less than ideal game outcomes, especially for Braves fans as the team is weirdly not good at scoring those free baserunners in extras. However, it has had the desired outcome of shortening games as well as not completely destroying bullpens after a 16 inning marathon. Not the most elegant of solutions, but it does serve a purpose that may be for the greater good.

The MLB competition committee also placed restrictions on when position players are eligible to pitch in games. This one is a little weird, because if a team really wants to throw a position player on the mound down by five runs, its unclear why that is completely undesirable. However, this will force teams to manage their bullpens and rosters effectively and prevent teams from completely giving up when a comeback is possible while still giving us a chance to see moments like Freddie Freeman laughing hysterically at Anthony Rizzo striking him out or Travis d'Arnaud being sent to the shadow realm by a pitch from Dee Strange-Gordon.

Overall, these changes really don't change all that much from what we have seen in recent years. The runner on second in extras rule has been around for a bit and teams have gotten used to it even if it is annoying to lose to a runner you didn't put on base. As for the position player rule, this isn't a particularly common occurrence and the changes prevent it from being abused unnecessarily while still giving teams options when games really go sideways.